The Orange County Blues got back on the winning track Sunday night, taking a 2-1 win at Rio Grande Valley FC, the second match of a two-match road swing in Texas.
Didier Crettenand recorded a brace to lead the Blues, helping them bounce back from a tough loss at San Antonio FC on Thursday.
It didn’t take long in the first half for both teams to start pressing on the attack, as Blues goalkeeper Josh Cohen had to snuff out a chance for RGV’s Kyle Murphy in the 6th minute. The Blues would threaten on the other end of the field, but couldn’t manage the windy conditions at UTRGV Soccer Complex in Southeast Texas.
In the 39th minute, an unfortunate fluke play cost the Blues. RGV managed to get inside the box for a shot on frame. Brenton Griffiths made a last ditch effort to block the shot, resulting in the ball going straight up into the air. Cohen went under it to catch it, but bobbled the catch, possibly affected by the wind, and the ball fell straight to RGV’s Kyle Murphy, who tapped in on an empty net.
Despite this setback, the Blues kept pressing, and in the 43rd minute, earned a penalty after Didier Crettenand slotted a ball to Trevin Caesar on the right side of the box, who was taken down by an RGV player. Crettenand finished the penalty to equalize and go into the break level at one.
The offensive pressure continued in the second half for both sides, with Orange County’s defensive really making things difficult for RGV. The action kicked up a notch late in the half. Cohen stuffed three straight Toros corners in the 89th minute. In stoppage time, the Blues backline continued in bend-but-not-break fashion, until they found the game winner deep into the four minutes added.
Blues forward Gevorg Karapetyan got ahead of the RGV defense, only to be taken down in the box by Ivan Magalhaes, who was shown a red card for his transgression. Crettenand stepped up and finished the penalty, and RGV’s last few attempts to equalize while down a man came up naught, giving Orange County the 2-1 win.
Keep an eye on the discipline report from USL this week, as the teams participated in some extracurricular activity after the final whistle, resulting in a few players being shoved and lots of unfriendly words exchanged. We’ll have a report should any Blues players or coaches receive punishment.
This win moves the Blues to 6-6-3 on the season with 21 points, putting them in 7th place in the Western Conference. Orange County returns to action on Saturday, July 2nd, up the 405 to play LA Galaxy II.
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